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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

UMN extends deadlines to May 15 due to FAFSA delays

FAFSA processing delays could affect current and incoming University students.
Students study in Bruininks Hall on Feb. 19, 2020.
Image by Emily Urfer
Students study in Bruininks Hall on Feb. 19, 2020.

It was a few weeks ago when Eddy Pacieznik tried and failed to access his Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form for his third year at the University of Minnesota in the fall. He tried opening the application Monday morning to the same message he received the first time — to try again later.

Pacieznik said he is not too worried about the delays as he feels the issue will be resolved soon, but he said financial aid will be important moving forward in his academic career.

“My family relies a good amount on it to help pay for tuition,” Pacieznik said.

Pacieznik is one of the many students facing FAFSA processing errors since the new form was rolled out in December 2023. Now, the University is extending the application confirmation deadline and housing application dates from May 1 to May 15 in response to the aid processing delays. 

The Department of Education (ED) released a new version of FAFSA to make applications easier and make students more eligible for financial aid, The Associated Press reported. However, processing problems have resulted in fewer students applying for financial aid and a projected decline of almost 2.6 million FAFSA submissions, almost 20%. 

Office of Admissions spokesperson Tanya Wright said in an email statement to The Minnesota Daily the University started sending estimated financial aid offers for the 2024-2025 academic year on April 16 and will continue to send out offers through June. 

“As the U.S. Department of Education begins sending corrected FAFSA information to the University, we will send estimated financial aid offers out to impacted students,” Wright said. “Final financial aid packages are sent once the fall tuition and fees are approved by the Board of Regents in July.”

Wright said students can confirm their admissions offer before accepting their financial aid offers but do not need to accept their estimated financial aid notices. When a student confirms to the University and has all of their FAFSA information submitted, they receive an official financial aid notice in July for the 2024-2025 academic year, she added.

Undergraduate Education Dean Robert McMaster said in an email statement to The Daily that finances play a significant role in a student’s college decision-making process.

“We wanted to provide incoming students additional time to receive their financial aid offer, apply for housing and make the right college decision for their circumstances,” McMaster said. 

Wright said the University will extend the deadline for students who need additional time to confirm for the fall 2024 academic year on a case-by-case basis, for individual student circumstances likely related to FAFSA delays this year.

“We were in the early group of universities to extend our enrollment confirmation deadline from May 1 to May 15,” Wright said in the statement. “In early February, we recognized the ongoing FAFSA delays would not be resolved quickly and that students would likely need more time to receive their financial aid offers and make a confirmation decision.”

 Wright said the University has a longstanding practice of offering a deadline extension “Confirmation Extension Form” for students who need more time often for financial aid verification.

“We’ll continue to monitor the FAFSA updates, assess if any further changes are needed and communicate the latest information with prospective students and their families,” Wright said.

FAFSA context

If you want to receive financial aid for the fall 2024 and spring 2025 semesters in college, FAFSA is the form you will complete, Vox reported.

Axios reported the ED’s rollout of a new FAFSA form — meant to make the application far simpler and quicker to complete — has resulted in technical issues and huge processing backlogs and application drops nationwide.

College counseling organizer Sara Harberson said in a CNBC televised interview the 2022 FAFSA Simplification Act was supposed to make aid applications simpler, but students are getting admitted to college without knowing what their financial assistance will be. She said the price tags on private and public universities will matter a lot moving forward.

“Those public university price tags are looking a lot more attractive,” Harberson said.

FAFSA numbers in Minnesota

Wright said it is too early to predict enrollment numbers, but the University is optimistic based on overall confirmation activity there will be a “great, academically prepared incoming class this fall.”

Minnesota application numbers are down sharply, Axios reported, and by last Thursday four out of five FAFSA applicants knew how much financial aid they received. At the same time last year, 95% of applicants had received a financial aid response. 

Minnesota FAFSA completion rates 2024-25. (Image by Department of Education (screenshot))
Minnesota FAFSA completion rates last cycle 2023-24. (Image by Department of Education (screenshot))










Wright said the University delivered the first wave of estimated financial aid notices for most incoming students and will continue to send notices as they receive information. 

The University is working to resolve financial aid offers once confident in the information from the Department of Education, she added.

“We also continue to provide basic FAFSA information to parents, families and high school counselors who support students,” Wright said. “In the coming days and weeks, communications will continue to go out from the U.S. Department of Education and the University of Minnesota to incoming and continuing students regarding their FAFSA status.”

Students should submit their 2024-2025 FAFSA to the University as soon as possible to receive their official financial aid notice in July 2024. During the week before classes start in late August, their financial aid will be applied to their University student account.

Wright added students have until December 20, 2024 to request and accept a fall/ spring subsidized and/or unsubsidized loan. 

“Sometimes students are unable to finalize their funding before school starts,” Wright said. “In that case, financial aid continues to be offered and disbursed throughout the academic year as students accept and respond to their offers.”

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